In today’s volatile online environment, Android application security knowledge is one thing that can differentiate developers. Although Android offers lots of great opportunities for developers, it is also routinely targeted by malicious hackers who attempt to compromise mobile applications. Malicious hackers may view your application and attack it, when designing and implementing your Android app.
You need to make sure your app developer not only has extensive knowledge of the Android environment, including how to design, build, and deploy applications. However, you also need to make sure your app development partner has a strong background in application security, cryptography, or android security apps.
Application Security: Why It Is Important During Development
Security can include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, antivirus programs, and other types of single-layer online defense. However, it may also include multi-layer security tools like virtual private network. Why is this security important to web development? Because the days when a developer could deploy insecure, poorly developed code and no one cared are long gone.
All development code is now a potential platform inside a high-threat environment, known as the Internet. Software that is running on a device that has an ongoing Internet connection and runs code along with hundreds of other apps is, at best, vulnerable to all kinds of cyber attacks. So, anyone who is coding an Android application So, who needs to consider using some type of virtual private network to keep the app secure in the development phase.
A Checklist of Things Your Development Partner Needs to Be an Expert at
When vetting for the right development partner, be sure to research their past work and ensure they have a grip on the following security protocols:
- A basic understanding of application security
- Which components of an app need to be restricted
- The type of multi-layer security available to developers and how it works
- The security of the platform in which the developer is creating the app
- How Android apps work and how apps can be written securely.
The State of Android Security
As of late 2018, the Android ecosystem thriving. Android phones are extremely popular. New models seem emerge every few weeks. Thousands of apps are flooding the Android Market every year. Google continues to innovate on this platform at a rapid pace.
However, with all these developments come a lot of security risks. Recent analysis by outside firms has found multiple types of malware embedded in apps released on the Android Market. A lot more malware has been found in other, non-Google application stores. Tricking the user into installing the app by posing as a useful tool or game, the software then steals data from the phone and sends it out to unknown people with unknown motivations. Hackers will attempt to break into an app using a wide range of methods. They make their malicious code look like legitimate apps, to get unsuspecting users to install and run them.
Improvements in Android Development
The fact that this malware exists indicates that it has not, nor could anything really ever be, a full-blown solution for platform security. And while this threat does continue to exist, developers are getting better at utilizing security features and creating some key wins such as:
- Reducing the platform thus reducing the attack surface on most applications
- Providing better information on how an Android app works
- Educating users on security software such as VPNs.
So, while the threat of malware on Android is real and will continue to be so, security software and better development does provide some real benefits and protection for the users.
Managing Risk in Android Development
Security is all about managing risk. Thus, it must be understood that any Android app will never have a perfectly secure system. This is why additional security measures are important for both developers and users. In essences, application security is all about tradeoffs. Case in point, if we need perfect assurance, a 100% guarantee, that a username and password would not be compromised, the only way to accomplish this would be to not store them at all. However, this would make the entire concept of an application impractical. Both developers and users need to take on some risk to provide a useful product.
Developers need to understand the three components of managing risk:
- A Vulnerability is something that allows an unintended and undesirable action to take place.
- A threat is something, or someone, that can take advantage of a vulnerability.
- Consequence refers to the end result of the threat taking advantage of the vulnerability.
Developers much manage risk by understanding the vulnerability of their platform, the software they use to develop an app, and the app itself. They must understand what threats bombard their platform. And they must understand the consequences of a security breach during app development, app purchase, and app use.
Final Thoughts: Providing Security for Android Apps and Devices
Your app development partner needs to have a thorough understanding of the devices that an app is running on. The most common devices are computers, phones, and tablets. The reasons for this is because they need to understand the level of security threats they are dealing with.
One other important and related topic is the security of a Google account. Android devices are almost always tied to a Google account and the Google services provided by Android applications typically use that account. It is, therefore, important to understand the vulnerability of these accounts and how hackers can use an account to access an app.
The best way to provide this level of security is to install a virtual private network on all devices while developing apps. It is also important to develop apps that have open APIs so that a VPN can successfully protect the Android App along with other apps on the phone or other devices. A VPN offers multi-layer protection by encrypting the data and masking a developer’s IP address when online.
Do you have any questions or comments about security in app development? Tweet us your thoughts @Koombea
About the author:
Christopher Nichols has always enjoyed using new technology advancements to scale marketing efforts. He believes in data-driven marketing and in practices it in his agency, Strictly Digital.